Holiday Relationship Tips for Plant Parents

Holiday Relationship Tips for Plant Parents

There are five days left until Christmas as I write this article. We’re in the middle of decorating (for us holiday-come-latelies), baking, wrapping, shopping, and of course, gathering with family and friends.

What we want our gatherings to be are festive moments filled with laughter, shared love, good memories, and cozy feelings. But, reality often falls short of that ideal. Conversations can be awkward. Differences can cause arguments. Old resentments and unresolved relationship problems can flare. The stresses of the season can take their toll on even the most healthy relationships.

We can choose how to handle our relationships over the holidays. For those of us who delight in growing houseplants, there's a unique parallel between nurturing our relationships and tending to our leafy companions.

In the holiday relationship tips for plant parents below, I'll explore how your plant parenting can help you cultivate a flourishing connection with your family and friends even when the craziness of the holidays takes over.

Share the Sunlight

Holiday Relationship pro tip

Plants need sunlight to thrive, and relationships need positivity. Your expectations, your intentions, and your attitude matter in every encounter you have. Some people (and plants) are just more difficult than others. You’d be surprised at how often a smile and encouraging comment can brighten someone’s day and change the tone of a conversation.

If you know you’ll encounter someone difficult in your next gathering, make a conscious decision to not be a mirror. Don’t reflect their bad attitude back at them. Instead, be a light--a grow light! Choose to shower them with light. You never know, it may be the only light they receive that day. And we all need light for nourishment!

Roots of Stability

Strong roots provide stability to houseplants, and the same goes for relationships. Relationships bloom with nourishment, just like your plants. And we start with the roots, right? How are the roots of your relationships? The things that grow below the surface that we don’t like to acknowledge?

We can’t expect a beautiful flower if our roots are rotting below the soil line. So, take care of the roots of your relationships. Are there apologies you need to make? Conversations you need to have? Forgiveness that needs to be given? Some quality time that should be spent? How are your relationship roots?

Nourishment is Key

Just like houseplants thrive with proper care, relationships need nourishment. We water and feed our plants regularly. We put them in the right places to give them the amount of light they need. We move them if they’re not thriving. We worry about the temperature and the humidity in our spaces. How many of us are putting more effort into our plants than into our relationships?

Relationships need nourishment, too. They need time, communication, and care. The holiday season is busy. Really busy. But make sure you take time to nourish your relationships, too. Strong relationships will survive a season of neglect, but if this season is about love, then it makes sense to prioritize our relationships. After all, people are what we usually say we value most, but our holidays rarely reflect that.

Fertilize with Gratitude

Fertilizing your plants helps them grow, and expressing gratitude nurtures relationships. One way you can quickly pour into your relationships is to express gratitude and appreciation for your friends and family.

Sometimes it helps us handle holiday gatherings with a good attitude if we take the time in advance to think through reasons we’re grateful for each person who will be there. Gratitude helps in this case without even sharing it with others.

But imagine how meaningful cards and gifts would be if they included a short note telling the recipient why (specifically) you’re grateful for them.

Holiday Relationship tips for plant parents

Weathering the Storms

Most of the houseplants we grow as indoor plants are outdoor tropical plants, where they endure storms. Even as indoor plants, they endure less than ideal circumstances and seasons (here’s looking at you over or underwaterers!).

Our relationships face challenges too. My nephew died unexpectedly during the holidays when he was eleven years old. Last December, my best friend lost her battle with cancer. The holidays can be difficult when we’ve lost someone close or for any of a thousand other relationship reasons.

With care and attention, your houseplants weather repotting, chop-n-props, and occasionally less than ideal conditions. Consider their resilience and give loved ones who are struggling this season (or yourself) a little extra understanding and TLC.

Allow Room for Growth

When our plants become rootbound or top heavy because of too much growth, we find a bigger pot, more suitable for their new size. They need the right pot for their current size and so we accommodate them, because we want them to flourish.

In relationships, we need to give each other the freedom to grow. We shouldn’t be staying the same, we each should be continually growing. Encourage your friends and family when they shoot for personal development goals and celebrate their achievements, both big and small. Most of all, be sure you’re seeing and responding to them as they are now, not as they used to be. Be generous with second chances. We all need them at some point!

Adapt to Changing Seasons

At this time of year, we often talk about which of our houseplants are headed into a dormant season. Plant growth often slows over the winter. And we respond, not by watering and fertilizing them more, but less.

Families change. Relationships change. Kids grow up, move away, and grow their own families. We are living in an ever-changing world, including our relationships. Traditions are awesome, but we often begin to treat them as the only right way to celebrate a holiday. Our holidays need to adjust to changing relationships. Like our plants, we need to adapt to changing seasons.

Prune and Let Go

We prune plants for better growth and better health. Sometimes, our relationships need pruning, too. Earlier, I talked about choosing not to reflect a difficult person’s attitude back at them. But, sometimes people or relationships are beyond difficult, they’re toxic. For your own health, you may need to prune relationships or prune attending specific gatherings or events from your calendar for your own health and growth.

Or, maybe you need to prune something from a relationship that’s holding it back from growth, like judgement, resentment, unrealistic expectations, or lack of communication. What would happen if you pruned those from your relationships?

Thoughtful Gifting

You often select things for your plants with care, the perfect pot, a new shelf, the perfect moss pole, a grow light, or greenhouse cabinet. Just as you carefully select gifts for your plants, choose meaningful gifts for your loved ones, ones that will encourage their health and growth.

Blooming Together

Indoor houseplants are often not big bloomers, but we do get ridiculously happy with a new leaf or the perfect variegation. The joy of seeing your plants bloom or new growth can be compared to shared accomplishments in a relationship. As the year draws to a close, consider all the ways your relationship(s) have been successful. What new thing has bloomed? How can you see growth? What are you looking forward to next?


As we wrap up this exploration of holiday relationship, tips remember that the beauty of any season lies not just in blooms or beautiful leaves but in the ongoing journey of growth together. As you walk through this festive season, may your relationships be filled with moments of shared sunlight, full of gratitude, deep roots, and much joy. Happy holidays, planty friends!

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